Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Ski Area will debut the new six-passenger, high-speed Christie Peak Express on Friday when it opens for the traditional Scholarship Day to benefit the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
The ski area announced this afternoon that Scholarship Day lift tickets will cost $20 and will afford skiers and riders the opportunity to carve up limited runs from Thunderhead Peak to the bottom of the mountain. Season and value passes won't be honored until Saturday.
In addition to Christie Peak Express, the ski area will operate Thunderhead Express to ferry opening-day customers above the 9,000-foot level on the mountain. The gondola is not expected to open until the week of Dec. 3 as crews work to replace its haul rope. The Preview lift also will operate on opening day.
The primary trail on opening day will be Upper Vagabond leading to runs like Betwixt, Eagles' Nest, Short Cut, Main Drag, Boulevard, Lower Yoo Hoo, Preview and Stampede. Several rails will be set up on Eagles' Nest.
Steamboat reported 6 inches of fresh snow at mid-mountain this morning, and there was more snow in the forecast for the weekend ahead.
Steamboat announced Nov. 15 it would not make its scheduled opening date of Nov. 21 due to mild temperatures that prevented snowmaking and insufficient natural snow. Since Nov. 21, the ski area has seen 21 inches of natural snowfall at mid-mountain. Today's mid-mountain base is 14 inches.
Lift ticket prices will jump to $58 a day this weekend. Scholarship Day has raised more than $525,000 for the Winter Sports Club since its inception in 1991, according to the ski area. Because Scholarship Day is on a school day, area students and teachers will be offered vouchers to ski or snowboard Saturday at the discounted $20 price. Scholarship Day lift tickets can be purchased beginning today at the ski area's main ticket office in Gondola Square.
Scholarship Day lift tickets cost $15 last year, when opening day featured five lifts serving 17 trails.
In addition to the skiing terrain, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. plans to open a number of its restaurants and retail shops Friday, including Gondola Joe's, Bear River Bar and Grill, Thunderhead Food Court, Stoker Bar, Ride Sports, Steamboat Ski Rentals and Steamboat Ski & Sport, among others. The Ski and Snowboard School will offer all its programs beginning Friday, including private, all-day and half-day lessons as well as the Kids Vacation Center. Call (800) 299-5017 to reserve a lesson or for more information.
The Knoll and Meadows lots will be open for free parking, and paid parking will be available in the Gondola Square and Ski Time Square parking garages.